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  1. Finally back in Avalonia, Lord Stark and Alric are making the tiring journey to their homesteads. Luckily, they will not have to sleep under the stars this night: Lord Ceron of Avonhem has offered them a bed for the night and a place at his fire! Avonhem is a small lordship located in the Avalonian heartland, next to the river of Avonmora and downstream of it's big neighbour Sionnach. It's leading family has since long pledged it's swords to the rulers of Benoic, though it has been quite some time they actually had to bare steel for their overlords. It's support to Benoic's war efforts has more come in the form of grain and livestock to feed the glorious troops. Finally back to building in my beloved Avalonian style. Inspiration by ZC and DC, and special thanks goes to @Blufiji for comment and aid while building, and to @de Gothia for letting me use his county. Hope you like it, CC not only very welcome, but also craved for (especially on the tree. As a true Avalonian, I'm ashamed to admit that my trees could be way better). Long live the Avalonian dragon!
  2. Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 1, Chapter 2 Part 1, Chapter 3 Part 1, Chapter 4 Part 1, Chapter 5 Part 2, Chapter 1 Nocturnian Civil War Saga: Ambushing the Spire Avalonian Countryside by Brandon Stark, on Flickr With the war in Nocturnus over and Raavage defeated, and the heir of Historica being safely on the throne, the weary soldiers of Historica began to make their way home. After nearly six years of endless war, there was finally peace, and there was no longer any threat to Historica. The wars had taken thousands of lives and left devastation that would remain for generations to come. Yet war had stopped, and that was something to be grateful for. Among one of the groups heading home were those led by Brandon and Lord Alric Drondil. The two had fought briefly together in Nocturnus, and though Brandon returned to Avalonia, he came back to help in the fight to install the heir to the throne. Also among the groups, besides lords who were allies of Brandon, was the Green Rider Maelyn, an elvish girl Brandon was nearly in love with. Though the two met in Avalonia, she followed Brandon to aid in the fight against evil at Cedrica. As they passed through the picturesque Avalonian countryside, many thoughts were on Brandon's mind. He had ascended to the lordship shortly before the Revolword War, and thus his tenure as Master of Whisperers on the Council was shaped primarily by the wars that shook the continent. Albion's leadership was mostly absent, and a few spies, such as Morgan Windspear, Warden of Albion, helped cause the deteriorating conditions in the city. While Brandon could do nothing against it, he kept Avalonia alive. It was something the Avalonian people would never realize. They protested the deteriorating conditions and widespread poverty caused by Spire spies, but took for granted that a few Avalonian lords, such as him, had kept them alive until this day. Brandon was aware that a new era ushered for new command and new leaders, and he was sure the high command would soon remove him from the position. However, he planned to resign to avoid the embarrassment. Brandon decided to forget about his thoughts and enjoy what time he had left in the position of relative comfort and luxury. He turned to Alric, who was riding next to him. Brandon had grown up in the province ruled by Alric's father, before he left to make his way in the world. However, fate brought the two together, and they had been friends ever since. Brandon had offered to help Alric reclaim his birthright, though was declined. "What are your plans, now, Alric? The long wars have finally ended." Like with many of the people he had seen lately, Alric looked as if a large stone block had been lifted off his back. Brandon guessed he must've looked the same, since he felt that way, though he wasn't able to see yet. "I'll probably just return to my county, settle down, and maybe start. I've had enough of all this war. It's nice to see some rest for the first time. We grew up in this; our lives have been shaped by all of this. Peace will surely be different, but it would surely be welcomed by all." "I haven't even been back to Dragonstone since the Algus invasion broke out. The province, I assume, does fine without me, but I will make it a priority to visit it again. I may even start a family once I can find a suitable wife." Brandon changed the topic a little. "It's a new era, and new eras call for new leaders. I doubt Albion will need me anymore." Lord Alric looked confused, trying to ponder the last words Brandon had said. "Pardon?" "My tenure as Master of Whisperers has been shaped by war. My policies and ideals are different than what the new leadership wants. They will see me ousted, though I will resign to spare myself the embarrassment." "And you won't try to resist? You worked hard for this position, right?" "If the leadership or the Avalonian people want different, let it be. I won't stop it. It's tiring, Alric. It's not easy. I would much rather be at home, in Dragonstone, with a family." Lord Alric didn't look disappointed, nor happy. He just responded with a simple sentence. "I see then. I wish you the best of luck, whatever paths you may take."
  3. Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 1, Chapter 2 Part 1, Chapter 3 Part 1, Chapter 4 Part 1, Chapter 5 Albion House by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Brandon was riding through the streets of Albion with a Green Rider by his side. It had been four months since he last was here, but he remembered the familiar sights and smells of Albion. As he rides through the streets of Albion, Brandon spots the top of the Great Keep of Albion, his residence in the city. He briefly thinks of all the letters sitting on the top of his desk that he must attend to, and all of his duties, including his spy network. To pass what would be a uneventful ride, Brandon opens up a conversation with the Green Rider, young elven girl, highly beautiful, and no older than 18 years old, named Maelin, who Brandon has developed a liking for. She reminds him of a Green Rider girl Brandon spent much time with during the Revolword War, whose name Brandon has forgotten. "So, Maelin, tell me more about yourself. I'm interested in hearing about the elves of the Enchanted Forest, and yourself." Maelin smiles. "As I've told you, I'm the youngest daughter of an elven king back in the Enchanted Forest. I received the Green Rider call about two years ago, and my parents, being learned in magic, needed little explanation. I headed out for here, and after some training, became a Green Rider. I finished my training about when the Kaliphlin Civil War was coming to a close, so I wasn't sent to an embassy down there, as they didn't need any more Green Riders." "I see. The Green Riders are an interesting organization. Almost as ancient as the guild itself, and much older than the Kingdom of Historica. I've spent much time reading about them in the library of Albion. I've also been to Kaliphlin before. Unlike you, I was sent down there during the Kaliphlin Civil War with the main task of keeping the embassies safe, but I ended up helping the High Council myself. But my help was too small to change the course of the war anyways." Up ahead, Brandon notices the Great Keep of Avalonia, a grand keep that stands out from the rest of Albion. He disembarks and walks his horse the last few feet down the street. Before continuing, he stops to talk to Maelin. "I hear the High Lords are holding a banquet tonight. I'm wondering if you can attend. If finding proper clothing is an issue, don't worry. I have some lady friends of mine who can deal with that." Maelin smiles and slightly blushes, seemingly pleasantly surprised at being asked by a High Lord to attend a noble banquet. "I don't believe I have any Green Rider duties tonight, and I believe I have an old dress somewhere among my belongings, so I would be glad to attend. I must head back to the Headquarters to unpack and prepare, so I must leave you here. Until then, goodbye Lord Brandon."
  4. Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 1, Chapter 2 Part 1, Chapter 3 Part 1, Chapter 4 Avalonian Embassy 1 by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Avalonian Embassy 2 by Brandon Stark, on Flickr After the meeting with Lord Alric Drondil, Brandon decided to do his part and find support from other Avalonian lords. On the road back to Avalonia, Brandon decided to visit one of the many Avalonian embassies in the guild. The embassy he is visiting was built six years ago, when the High King toured the land. Back then, it only consisted of the keep, a small curtain wall was built around the fortress during the Revolword War when the threat of attack was high. With war at their doorstep, it isn't a surprise that the number of guards have nearly tripled since peacetime, as Brandon notices. After presenting the guards at the entrance with the badge of his office, he makes his way into the fortress to speak with its commander, Ser Kedry Longthorpe. A high ranking Green Rider before suffering a near-crippling injury, Ser Kedry is also in charge of the embassy's three Green Riders. As Brandon walks across to the keep, he is met by Ser Kedry. The two exchange greetings with each other. "Brandon, my old friend, it's so nice to see you after all these years. How are you doing, and how are those green lands of Avalonia? And what brings you to the middle of Nocturnus?" Ser Kedry and Brandon had met before the Revolword War, as Kedry was a high ranking Green Rider stationed in the capital. After Ser Kedry suffered an injury at the hands of an orc, Brandon offered him a position to command the Avalonian embassy in Nocturnus. "I'm doing fine Ser Kedry. Avalonia is in a bad state, unfortunately. Refugees have flooded the capital, as I've noticed before I left Avalonia. It is also said that Drow and Hand of Corruption regiments roam the countryside, with our army to weak and divided to resist. Which is part of the reason that brings me back to Nocturnus. If the Spire is defeated here, Raavage's allies in Avalonia will flee down to the underground from whence they came." "That is rather unfortunate to hear. Now, Brandon, what help can I offer you to help Avalonia so we can defeat Raavage?" "I need all of your Green Riders to ride out tomorrow with a message to the individual lords of Avalonia. It's no use getting a message to Albion. The Spire supporters in the city will make sure word doesn't get out. I also need another Green Rider to send word to the next embassy so they can send word to an embassy after that, and so on." "Of course, Brandon. I will summon our Green Riders and inform them of their mission. Safe travels to you Brandon. May you make it safely back to Avalonia. The roads are very dangerous at this time, as Nocturnian roads are always, but with the threat of Raavage so close by. Watch out for Spire soldiers. Now, goodbye Brandon."
  5. Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 1, Chapter 2 Part 1, Chapter 3 This is a crossover with TitusV, and a continuation of Brandon Stark's story. If Blufiji isn't okay with this build being in the Reach, I will promptly remove it. Overlooking the Reach by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Brandon was observing the military encampment below from the top of a hill. The encampment, located in the Reach, capital of the Goblin Empire, was expanded by the arrival of his troops from Avalonia days ago. As he looked down upon row upon row of goblins, men, elves, and even some dwarves, he came to wonder if this force would even come close to defeating Raavage and the Spire. Behind him, Brandon noticed Lord Alric Drondil walking up the hill towards him. Lord Alric ruled the province in which Brandon was born, Drond's Fields. Though Brandon barely knew Lord Drondil then, he briefly knew his father, Balric, and later offered Alric aid in retaking his birthright from the usurper Garmaddon. Brandon was greeted Alric first. "Good day Lord Alric. It's a nice view, don't you think? Though we have more pressing matters to attend to." "Good day, Brandon. We've gotten word that war was already started in the north. While we've sent out our messengers, it seems Raavage is calling his followers also. It is now known that he has aid from the Drow, our enemy, and the Algus, Mitgardia's enemy. While I'm going to stay here with my soldiers to help Lord Gal Turok, Lord Vladivus in Shadowmere, could definitely use some aid." "It is my plan to aid Shadowmere. I will only stay in the Reach for a few days so my soldiers can rest and prepare for the war. In a few days or so, I will march north with my forces. Hopefully the forces of Zotharith along the way will join us. As for now, I've sent many Green Riders calling all the lords of Avalonia to help. Unfortunately, they don't listen to me like they do to their lords." "We are heavily outnumbered, though no doubt we're more trained and experienced. Still, this war is now not only contained to Nocturnus. The Mitgardians must be able to hold the main Algus advance from flooding the south, while, us Avalonians must be able to keep the Drow in the holes where they belong. Otherwise, our forces here are too small to be able to hold two floods of Algus and Drow, whose armies number in the ten thousands." "This situation seems very dire. I will need you to help me to send ravens to every Avalonian embassy in Nocturnus. We must tell them to dispatch every Green Rider they can to send word to all the lords of Avalonia. They must be told to do whatever they can to help the Resistance, either by stopping the Drow in Avalonia, or coming here." "Yes, I will make sure to do that. Now if you'll excuse me, I must meet with my generals to discuss this war. See you later today, or if not, see you tomorrow, Brandon."
  6. Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 2, Chapter 2 Albion Docks by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Brandon had feelings of uncertainty as he walked towards the Albion docks. To whom was his duty owed? He had seen starving peasants and refugees from the countryside on his way to the docks. Yet many of the High Lords were oblivious to this fact. Brandon himself was unsure. Avalonia, his own homeland, where he had been raised, desperately needed good leadership and protection. Yet here he was, marching 500 Avalonians into possible death, to a guild they had never known, a guild that cared little for the sufferings of Avalonians. However, Brandon reassured himself, These poor people will be suffering more if Raavage is not defeated. He walked on, arriving at the South Docks. The Albion South Docks were a relatively new addition to the city. Since the Avalonian Civil War, Drow raids in the countryside had caused many to flee behind the safety of the city walls. Unfortunately, the small city found it hard to accomadate such large numbers. Thus, slums popped up outside the city walls overnight, built by refugees with whatever wood they could find. The lack of a competent warden was in part responsible for the growth of these towns, where crime flourished. The South Docks, however, were built by merchants fleeing war in the south, and was notably grander than other parts of the slums. It extended across the river into Mesodraconem. Yet few nobles ever came here, preferring to use the grander North Docks for travel. Brandon walked into the docks, where he was greeted by Karlon Ironsmith. House Ironsmith was an ally to Dragonstone and Ironsmith soldiers made up the largest addition to Brandon's forces. "Good day, Lord Stark. All is going to plan. We should be able to embark soon. Also, the Steward from the Keep came here with a chest. He said it was yours." "Ah, yes, the chest. I requested to have in delivered here." Brandon motioned to a guard nearby to take the chest onto the boat. "By the way, what are our forces? I heard the Council didn't allow us to use their forces, so it is about 500?" "No, my lord. We have 700 soldiers. I brought about 200, House Mormont brought about 200, and House Tollett brought about 100. But your father arrived about a week ago with 200 soldiers from Drond's Feelds. Lord Alric probably requested them. The Council will send 1,000 soldiers if they see the cause is worth supporting." Brandon looked to his left to see two soldiers in Drond's Feelds armor walking to the ship. Yet this was a different variant. Brandon remembered they were his father's, immediately proving Lord Ironsmith's words. "Good. Hopefully we will be able to arrive in Nocturnus on time." Brandon then walked onto the ship.
  7. Part 1, Chapter 1 Study by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Brandon and Corlys opened the door and entered a meeting room in the Great Keep of Avalonia. This wasn't the one the Council used, but rather each member of the council had their own meeting room. The two continued walked further, entering Brandon's study. Brandon hadn't been here in weeks, and as expected, piles of letters were sitting on his desk. Two letters on the table caught his eye. They were bearing the seal of Drond's Fields, and Shadowmere, respectively. They must be the responses, Brandon thought. Brandon sat down in his chair. He gestured for his brother to sit in another chair facing his. "So, Brandon, I trust your journey was pleasant? I have found much news from my travels to the capital. These are turbulent times, brother. I ran into some bandits on my way to the capital. Also some mummies and Drow. Didn't think they'd venture so far from their territory. I may have also seen that Nestlands girl that kissed you. Pity I wasn't able to talk to her. But I'm sure that's the one though. Armored girls aren't very common around here." "Surely you've found better news than that Nestlands girl. Though mummies and Drow venturing far from their territories is rather frightening. If the rumors are true; if my spies are right about Raavage allying with Drow and Algus, I fear nothing can stop him. Not with that Necromancer's Helm he could use to raise vast armies of undead." "Yes, the news is rather frightening, but there is hope, Brandon. The Necromancer's Helm might not even exist. And, the heir to Cedrica has been found..." "What? Corlys, I never knew you would succumb to rumors like that. The heir to Cedrica has been the subject of talk in half the taverns in Petraea. I'm not sure if there is hope. Mitgardia is spent, and will not be able to resist the Algus. Kaliphlin is divided, meaning the Desert King cannot make good on his promise to help Free Nocturnus. And even Avalonia; we were once one of the most powerful and prosperous, yet now the capital is shadow of its former glory and flooding with refugees." "It is true. I am sure of it. The resurrected Sir Trian Burress, Lord Dugal MacLean, and others are meeting in the Beggar's Inn south of the capital as we speak. If the rumors are false, why would they meet? There must be some reason. Brandon, please, for your family and those you hold dear, do not give up, for there is hope. For now, I must return to Drond's Fields. Goodbye, Brandon." "Thank you Corlys. Goodbye to you too." Now alone, Brandon pondered for a moment. Resurrected Sir Trian? He hadn't been seen for years. Brandon began opening the letters, hoping there was good news within. He began with the one he received from Lord Vladivus. "Greetings, Brandon, It gladdens me to know Historica has not forgotten it's shared plight. Ravaage is a threat to us all. Free Nocturnus is doing it's best to hold the Spire's rot at bay, but even Shadowmere's cannot hold out indefinitely. Allies are always welcome, and my mother spoke highly of your family. Make haste Brandon, there is little time to waste. Vladivus, Lord of Shadowmere and Free Nocturnus" After reading the letter, Brandon opened the one from Drond's Feelds. "Dear Lord Stark, We truly appreciate the fact that you will join our armies in the fight against the Black Spire. My husband, lord Alric, is already there with the best of our household guard. Though I wished I could give you more men, every man not in the Darklands already is needed here, to fend off the increasing Drow threat. My apologies. I propose you meet up with your liege lord once you are there, as to develop a shared strategy. Yours sincerely, Lady Elysabeth In name of her husband Lord Alric of the House Drondil, Lord of Drond's Feelds" Brandon closed both letters with satisfaction and relief. Both would be allies with him. He then opened the other letters and read them. They were mostly reports and updates from his agents across Historica. Many talked about the heir to Cedrica and the upcoming war. Others were of little importance; dealing with his incomes, among other things. Getting up, Brandon walked over to a chest, then began preparing for the journey. He pulled out his dragonsteel sword, then began placing a few other items inside. After a few minutes, Brandon walked out of his room. It would be long before he would return, and he wasn't sure if he would at all. As he walked out of his study, he spotted a servant in the hallway. Brandon pointed to the chest in his study. "Can you get this down to the Albion docks by this afternoon?"
  8. Chambers by Brandon Stark, on Flickr Brandon entered his chambers in a manor house outside the capital. Though the master of court intrigues in the capital, he still needed to get away from the tiring politics of the capital for once. He sat down at his desk, picked up his pen, dipped it into the ink, and began writing a letter. The latest developments in Nocturnus meant that something larger was brewing, and Brandon had to write to the Resistance, reassuring them of their allies in the war to come. "To Vladivus, Lord of Shadowmere, and nominal leader of Free Nocturnus, In these tumultuous times it is my duty..." Suddenly, the door opened, and a man wearing a typical Avalonian courtier's clothing, clutching a letter, entered. Brandon looked up to see it was Kevan, the lord of this manor, and also one of Brandon's oldest and most trusted friend. Kevan bowed. "Lord Stark." he said. "I'd have appreciated it more if you'd knocked first, but anyways, that aside what news do you have for me?" "This is my manor, so my rules. Anyways, well, there is news from Nocturnus, which seems to be your focus right now. Around a month or so ago, Black Spire forces captured a fortress near the Mitgardian border guarding one of the only roads in Nocturnus. Mortag Keep, it is called." A little annoyed by Kevan's statement, along with the fact the he was reporting unnecessary information to him, Brandon replied. "And what significance does this 'Mortag Keep' warrant? Surely it is just another keep that we don't have to care about. The Black Spire's been conquering fortress after fortress lately. While worrisome, as of now, I can't really do anything about it." "You see, our spies tell that a map leading to the Necromancer''s Helm was in that fortress. The Necromancer's Helm makes the Elemental Helm that Revolword loved so much look as powerful as the water people go around trying to sell who claim it has magical properties. It is capable of raising vast armies of the undead." Brandon was taken aback. If the Elemental Helm had done so much pain and destruction to the lands of Historica, what could the Necromancer's Helm do? But then, was this whole "Necromancer's Helm even real in the first place? "Normally, I'd dismiss it as stories to scare little children, but I've seen enough to believe you. Continue, if you will. The council and I would be interested to know of this 'Necromancer's Helm' that Raavage covets. If this be true, it could determine the fate of this war, which will also determine the fate of Historica itself." "But my lord, none of our spies have been able to pierce the Obsidian Spike. In fact, we only learned of this from the Nocturnian resistance." "It looks like we should turn our armies toward Nocturnus. Once this is over, the only spike Raavage will get is the one his head will be mounted on. Three years ago, I didn't come to the aid of my fellow countrymen at Abyssian. It is time I make amends for that. How many forces do we have?" "But my lord, you could not have done anything then. Lord Artorious had promised exile of any one of us who left Avalonia. You could not have risked your livelihood then. But, right now, we have around 6,500, if the Council allows to use the Avalonian army. Otherwise, it is 500." He sighed. The memories of the First Nocturnian Civil War pained him. It came so quickly, after a time when Historica was only beginning to heal. He was also angry, angry that so many of his fellow countrymen had perished at Abyssian, fighting for a cause that was still getting defeated. "Send a raven to my father, and another to Lady Elisabeth of Drond's Fields. Alric is my father's overlord, and we will definitely need their help in the wars to come." "...- Brandon Stark, Lord of Dragonstone, friend of Free Nocturnus" "Also, Kevan, can you get this message to the ravenry? Tell them this is from the Master of Laws, and is an urgent message that will need the fastest raven. As for now, I will be leaving. I'm heading west. There are a few people I need to see. The storm is coming, and we will need many allies." "Yes, my lord. I will see that it is done. And safe journeys to you."